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Rajon Rondo missed the only shot he took but finished with 15 assists and four steals, as the Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 87-74 on the last night of the NBA’s regular season.
Paul Pierce scored 12 points in just seven minutes in what may have been his last NBA regular season game with his “Big Three” cohorts, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Both Allen and Garnett are free agents next season and it remains to be seen if either of them will return to Boston. Garnett played just 11 minutes while Allen sat out with a swollen ankle.
Pierce made the first two baskets of the game before leaving in the first quarter with a sprained toe. Pierce returned to play five minutes in the second before riding the pine in the second half with teammates Rondo and Garnett.
Rookie Tobias Harris led the Bucks with 16 points and nine rebounds, while fellow rookie Jon Leuer contributed 15 points and eight boards. The Bucks sat four of their five starters in Thursday’s contest.
The Celtics’ offense jumped on the Bucks in the second quarter, scoring 39 points. The big lead the Celtics enjoyed at the half allowed Doc Rivers the flexibility to get the whole team involved. No Celtic played more than 25 minutes, and 12 of the 13 active players played at least 10 minutes.
Avery Bradley scored 14 points and E’Twaun Moore had eight points, five assists and three steals. Former Boston College star Sean Williams had six points and seven rebounds in his first significant set of minutes for the Celtics. Ryan Hollins recorded a career-high four blocks.
The Celtics will face off against the Atlanta Hawks either Saturday or Sunday in the first game of their first-round playoff series. The Hawks beat the Mavericks Thursday, ensuring that they will have both home-court advantage over the Celtics and the first game of the series in Atlanta.